By on August 14, 2019

We’re not singling out the good people of Erie, Pennsylvania, but it’s possible some General Motors dealers in that city may feel a pressing need for extra cash. On Tuesday, a grand jury indicted the owner of Lakeside Chevrolet-Buick and a former finance manager on charges of fraud.

You’ll recall a few years ago when another GM dealer in the city saw its owner and general manager indicted in a phony loan scheme. In the most recent case, the owner formerly held the title of president of the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, and the indictments flowed following accusations of phoney sales reports and unpaid floorplan loans.

The 17-count indictment, detailed by the U.S. Attorney of the Western District of Pennsylvania via Automotive News, accuses Lakeside owner Andrew Gabler and ex-finance manager Chad Bednarski of a laundry list of dirty deeds. The indictments include counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, and wire fraud that allegedly took place at a franchised Chevy-Buick dealer and two pre-owned stores operated by Lakeside Auto Sales over the course of four years.

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

The indictment states that from in and around January 2015, to in and around January 2019, Gabler and Bednarski falsely indicated that customers made a down payment and falsified and inflated the income of customers when submitting auto loan applications to financial institutions on behalf of customers. In addition, Mr. Gabler caused extended warranties to be sold to customers buying a vehicle at Lakeside Auto Sales and Lakeside Chevrolet and deliberately failed to remit the paperwork and payment to the extended warranty company.

Further, the defendants falsely reported vehicle sales to General Motors for vehicles that had not been sold in order to obtain expiring incentive rebates. Finally, the defendants deliberately did not inform S&T Bank when Lakeside Auto Sales and Lakeside Chevrolet sold a vehicle that the dealerships had purchased utilizing S&T Bank’s floor plan financing in order to delay and attempt to avoid the dealerships’ required payment to S&T Bank for the sold vehicles which had been purchased using S&T Bank’s floor plan financing.

The indictments came following an investigation by the FBI and state police. If convicted, the sky’s the limit when it comes to sentencing for the two men. The Attorney’s Office claims “the law provides for a maximum total sentence of 510 years in prison and a fine of $17,000,000 for Andrew Gabler and 330 years in prison and a fine of $11,000,000 for Chad Bednarski.”

Of course, an actual sentence would take into account the seriousness of the crimes, as well as the defendants’ history.

[Image: General Motors]

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